Just over a year after world health officials declared a global pandemic, 88% of news workers are currently required to work at home as opposed to in the field, studio or office, as was normal pre-pandemic. A recent survey conducted by The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), also shows 31% reported additional financial stress due to work-related expenses, many of which are not reimbursed by employers.
The Guild, a labor union representing writers in film, television, news and new media, conducted the survey this past month among 234 members, evenly split between those working in broadcast (television or radio) and digital news (websites, podcasts or streaming video), including Guild-represented newsrooms such as ABC and CBS News, HuffPost and VICE.
Among survey participants mandated to work fully from home, over a third say they are spending their own money to cover the increased costs associated with Internet fees and office equipment in order to properly do their work from home, according to WGAE. Only 19% have requested reimbursement of these expenses, with a clear majority having had those requests either fully or partially denied by their employer.
In light of the results of the survey, the Guild has asked all companies with which it works under a collective bargaining agreement to adopt a “Bill of Rights” which outlines clear policies for reimbursing expenses incurred by news employees working from home, and establishes a clear “return to work” policy providing workers an appropriate amount of time to make all necessary preparations before returning to the office.